Manicure Monday!

I am seriously wishing for spring… Just hoping for some warm weather and the re-appearance of one of my fave trendy colours this year, mint. I have 2 mint green shades of nail lacquer that I am in love with … Continue reading

My Holy Grail Red Lipstick…

I love a good red. Wine or lipstick. When you wear a great red lipstick that really flatters you, it makes you feel über glam and brings out that inner sex kitten just a little more than usual…. atleast for me! … Continue reading

Add a Little Love for Valentine’s Day!

Yes, yes, I know. V-day is still 4 weeks away. BUT I have a strong love-hate relationship with the day, so I like to prepare early. I love the festiveness. Hate the love part. My V-day’s always go bad. So…. … Continue reading

Product Review: Lang Lang Cosmetics Lipsticks

I recently received some product from a home-grown company, owned by Charlotte Lang, called Lang Lang Cosmetics. She was kind and gracious enough to send me 5 lipstick shades and 4 loose eyeshadow powders to review for my lovely beauty … Continue reading

Product Review! Dare to Compare: ELF vs. Make Up For Ever

I’ve been seeing a lot of products lately that seem to be dupes for other high(er)-end items out in the makeup world. And sometimes dupes are fabulous, really amazing, twin-like items. So my goal in this dare-to-compare blog is to … Continue reading

Yaby Liquid Foundation Review

During Yaby Cosmetics‘s pop-up shop in Toronto in August, I picked up the “Natural Finish Liquid Foundation” among other things. I actually ended up using it that very same day on a photoshoot I did for a beauty editorial (seen here).

I purchased 6 shades and felt that was enough to cover any skin tone appropriately with a bit of custom mixing.

My daughter was hanging around and dying to ‘help me’ so I let her use her arm for the swatches. I think some “Hello Kitty” character may be seen in the background, not to mention her very tiny 5 year old arm was a bit tougher to swatch then I’d thought…

 

 

So the product…

I noticed that the texture is very light and the consistency is similar to a tinted moisturizer. The product is oil-free, which is likely for the best since I think it suits younger skin types best and it has a cyclomethicone base, thereby making it a great option for those with sensitive, acne prone or very oily skin types.

The product is not overly pigmented (no caking) and provides great very-light to slightly moderate coverage. It needs concealer to really even things out and provides a very nice, light coverage to those with nearly perfect skin or those needing only minimal spot coverage. It layers well but cannot be built up to a full coverage foundation.

It photographs very well and allows the skin texture to show through nicely. I also liked how the tones are very closely matched to real skin tones. The clear tubes also makes it easy to spot and match a shade in a pinch. I also liked the packaging and it’s travel and kit-friendly size. That being said, I noticed some of my tubes are half empty after about 6 uses. However, I must note the cost-effectiveness of the product as it retails for $13.55 and pros can sign up for the discount program for 20% off, bringing your price down to $10.85 (for 0.272 oz of product).

I would not apply this with a sponge and would go the foundation & stippling brush route to avoid the sponge soaking up all the product. It also warms nicely and applies well with fingers.  I also used this foundation on one of my brides recently (who had very good skin). I used my Lise Watier concealer wheel to spot conceal and then used a mixture of shades “caramel” and “custard” to give her a custom match. You can see her lovely face here.

The sum:

I probably wouldn’t use this as a personal use foundation since the coverage cannot be built up to full, and some days you just need that extra ‘oomph!’ BUT I would stock this item in my kit as it is not expensive to keep as a good, light coverage option with great packaging and that is highly photographic and mimics skin texture very well. I’d love to see a full-coverage liquid foundation Yaby!

 

Is there a product you’d like me to review? Want to see if an item lives up to the hype? Drop me a line!

Thoroughly Impressed By What $3 Got Me

When E.L.F launched their new HD blushes, I was the first in line to make my order! But I noticed that since these new HD blushes were part of the “Studio” line, I could use my handy coupon code for … Continue reading

Thanks Face Atelier!

CanPar paid me a visit today and brought me some special FACE atelier goodies! I’m stoked!

FACE atelier Ultra Foundation is one of my absolute favourite liquid foundations. It gives amazing medium to full coverage, is buildable, and has a silicone base so you can save time and skip the priming step! To top it off… it’s a Canadian company! And I sure do love a homegrown product, especially one as amazing as this!

I recently used some FACE atelier products in 2 recent beauty editorials I had published (view MASK here or view Flight & Fury here). The shots and themes were COMPLETELY different from each other, but the thing is that this line is much more versatile than people and artists sometimes think. I use it on brides & clients, in video & photoshoots. Mature skin? No worries, this silky formula ‘floats’ atop the skin and doesn’t exaggerate fine lines by settling in wrinkles. Oily skin? get the Ultra Matte spray and mist a little before & after application to keep yourself shine-free. Dull skin? this stuff leaves a natural dewy look, just be sure to not powder on the whole face and just in the T-zone where needed.

Best of all….. FACE atelier was so kind as to hook me up with some professional gratis with my favourite items from their line!

I got the Ultra Foundation in 0-, 2, 4, 6, 8, 0+ a.k.a. 10, and 12 and the Ultra Matte spray. Covers every skin tone! And with 0- and 0+ you can customize the colour best for you (or your client). Enjoy the pics and the swatches!

Thanks again FACE atelier!

xo Jem

My MOST “Budget Friendly” Favourite Thing!

Well, it’s bridal season and my hands have been quite busy. Often too busy to post 😦
But in the midst of peak wedding season, I discovered a brand new favourite thing. Best of all, it is the most INEXPENSIVE favourite thing EVER!

I recently did a HUGE (and huge is putting it mildly) E.L.F. makeup haul (See haul here: https://beautybyjemz.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/my-e-l-f-makeup-haul) . In my haul, I purchase 2 ‘flat-head’ powder brushes. And truthfully, I really don’t know why. I thought they looked interesting. And since I ordered during the 50% off sale, they were only $1.50 each.

Little did I know, these brushes were about to become my new soul mates.

Holy smokes! I can’t even describe how much these brushes saved my life.

I am a blush lover. Now, this doesn’t mean I slab it on and give myself RuPaul cheeks. No. But I have a blush process that I use on myself and clients to give a really ‘lit from within’ and ‘natural flush’ type look. I often layer my powder blush with my NARS illuminators or with my MAC skinfinish powder but I prefer to not use powder blushes on their own because I find it always needs help to be long-lasting. So, I am a BIG believer in cream blush. I looooooove the way they melt into the skin and give that warm natural flush. I usually mix my cream blush on a palette to warm the cream and mix my NARS illuminator with it (usually Orgasm) and then apply. The application part is the tricky part. You need a brush that will not look streaky. You also want to be able to ‘push’ the product into the skin and make sure it melds with the foundation well. And you want to layer it on slowly and with a light touch so that you can make sure it’s even and lasts long, instead of giving yourself streaky 80’s cheeks.

Now this brush is the absolute PERFECT tool for this. It’s like it was DESIGNED with cream blush in mind. Forget your stippling brush, forget your beauty blender, and forget using your fingers. If you like cream blush, you NEED this brush in your life.

It allows for the perfect control in layering and blending. The flat surface picks up and distributes an even colouring on the face. And since you can push the colour into the skin instead of swiping it on, it gives a much more natural and blended appearance.

I only bought 2, and although I thought of sticking both in my kit I just had to say no. No, Jem. Enough is enough. One has to be for me. And I don’t feel selfish, in fact, I feel rather complete. My NARS Cactus Flower blush has never looked so good!

Want it? get it here! http://www.eyeslipsface.com/studio/tools/single-brushes/powder_brush#

Product Review! Ojon “damage reverse™ restorative hair treatment”

I purchased the “Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment” by Ojon as a sale item at the MAC Warehouse sale(blog + pics here: http://wp.me/p2efXc-1w) back in March. It was one of the many items in my haul that I was super excited to try. It was a steal: I purchased the 50ml size for $4 which normally retails for $22 here in Canada.

Now I have curly hair. Curly, ringlety hair. It’s not to thick, it’s not at all coarse, but it does get dry. Especially since I have caramel hilights. And we all know what dyeing can do to already dry hair.

I tried this product on dry hair, as it recommended. I took small teaspoon sized amounts into my hands, melted the waxy substance by rubbing it together in my palms, applying the oil to the hair, and repeating until fully saturated. It took about 1/4 of the jar to ‘fully saturate’ by mid-back length dry, damaged, and normal-thickness hair. I combed it through, put on a disposable shower cap, went under the blow dryer for 5 minutes, and let it sit for about 2 more hours.

Afterwards, I washed it out as normal with my sulfate free, argan oil-infused shampoo and conditioner and proceeded to blowdry and flat iron my hair.

My hair did not feel softer, smoother, more hydrated, or in any way healthier than before using the treatment. In fact, my hair felt hard and straw-like. I was not impressed.

I would have been better off applying warm coconut oil, palm oil or olive oil to my hair as a conditioning treatment instead of using this product. I would actually say that this is the worst hair product of it’s kind that I have ever tried. It smelled like cigarettes & chocolate (very odd combination), it was time consuming to apply and use, and it did not yield any of the results it promised. I also used 1/4 of the product in a single use, which means for $22 you’re getting 4 uses out of this product on the average head of hair. I can get more uses out of a bottle of coconut oil at the West Indian Grocery Store and it would cost me less than half of what this product is priced at.

The good thing about this experience? Well, there are 2 good things: One, atleast I’ll be able to attract every nicotine addict and chocolate-loving child within a 5 mile radius based on the aroma of my hair and Two, atleast it only cost me $4 to make this mistake. Coulda been much worse.

 

Have you tried this product? Let me know what your experience was and what you thought of it!

 

 

 

Product Review! Smashbox PHOTO FINISH HYDRATING UNDER EYE PRIMER

I got a sample of the new “PHOTO FINISH HYDRATING UNDER EYE PRIMER” by Smashbox in my last purchase from the Sephora store and was super eager to try it, especially since it’s not yet available to purchase in stores (and because it feels amazing to be in on the exclusive new thing!).

I gave it a try last Saturday when I was going out for several hours to see how it held up and if it gave any improvements to the wear of my makeup. Now since the sample sized tube didn’t come with instructions, I just used my common sense in applying it. I applied my primer all over the face, then this under eye primer, then my foundation (Nars Sheer Glow in Cadiz is my current go-to), then my concealer (Bobbi Brown concealer/corrector in Dark Peach) which is really just a warm corrector for my dark circles and not a concealer for acne/marks etc. since I have none (at the moment). I applied my liquid bronzer and cream blush, filled my brows, and added my eyeliner and mascara. Sounds like a lot, but I use each item sparingly and blend to hell and back. In 10 minutes I was out the door at 3pm.

 

I got home at about 12am. After 9 hours, my concealer usually fades & creases a wee bit. I also notice that my bottom lid eyeliner tends to smudge a tiny bit (even when I use my UDPP on the lower lid) even when using my favourite waterproof eyeliner (Urban Decay’s “Perversion”). But, this time, my concealer and eyeliner were both PERFECTLY in tact!

Needless to say, I will be the first in line, calling up Smashbox with my pro order as soon as this stuff hits the Canadian border. It was absolutely fantastic! It moisturized under my eye area without making me look oily or adding too much ‘slip’ to my concealer or eyeliner. It added a very slight reflective property as well, which made the area look brighter and helped combat my dark circles. And it added staying power to my eye makeup.

Nine hours in this warm Canadian summer, walking the streets of Toronto on a Saturday, strolling through Dundas square, shopping at Eaton Centre and hitting up Revival for a performance and then heading to a sushi bar for a bite before heading home… and my under eye makeup not only held up, but looked flawless when I got in just after midnight. This product has me sold. And even though I’ll be shopping with a pro discount, I still (and it is sooo hard for me to say this most of the time)… I still would purchase this product at full price. Even though it’s set to be $29 US, (so you just know the CAD price on this is going to be something silly like $35 a tube) you need just the tiniest dab under each eye and so 1 tube will probably last 6 months for the average person’s daily wear and probably a year for someone like me who doesn’t often wear a full face. You can also swing my your local Sephora and see if you can get a sample tube of this stuff with your purchase, then you can try it out for yourself!

It almost burns me that this product works as well as it does and is pretty hefty for the price but apparently pain is beauty, so if your pockets are hurting then this must be making you look flawless indeed.

Happy shopping!

My “Incredible” New Favourite Thing!

So it’s been a few months now since Noxzema saved my skin. And I have only been using them once a week now for that extra care and prevention. (You can read it here: https://beautybyjemz.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/how-noxzema-saved-my-cheeks/) Since my skin is all … Continue reading

How Noxzema Saved My Cheeks…

A few months ago, I had an allergic reaction to something. No idea what it was. And I broke out in all kinds of hives and rashes on my face, mostly my cheeks. I took pills and used some medicated steroid cream and it eventually went away in about 2 weeks.

After that, I noticed my skin became really sensitive and if I even just *touched* my face, I would end up breaking out and pimples would come popping out all over my cheeks. So I was in Shoppers Drug Mart (I know… again… Do not judge me please) and I saw these Noxzema Triple Clean Anti-Blemish pads in their classic cobalt blue Noxzema packaging. They were on sale for $3.49 and, in my classic style, I noticed a $1.00 off coupon just down the aisle. So I figured to try them. Nothing else was really working… my regular Cetaphil & Spectro cleansers didn’t seem to be able to handle the break outs alone and my tea tree oil stick was making my face look patchy and dry, nearly sunburnt. So with only $2.49 to lose, I grabbed a pack.

The instructions say to start with using 1 per day, then 2 per day with a max of 3 per day on the face. Well screw that! I was desperate. I started with 3 per day for the first 3 days and then 2 per day for about 3 more days. Before the 5th day, my break out was completely gone. Completely.

It’s true that I thought I might pass out from the menthol and camphor fumes, and sometimes I do plug my nose while swiping my face, but they say ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ and here I am, with my face feeling stronger!

Moment of truth: these are dirt cheap, a jar lasts about 2 months, your breakout could clear up in a week’s time (or less!) and you have no embarrassing acne routine for people to see and poke fun at you about (i.e. the ‘toothpaste’ trick = no boyfriend wants to see that, or the ‘tea tree oil stick’ that dries out your skin in weird patches and makes you look like you got sunburned, or a bathroom cabinet full of acne products, when you could use just 1 or 2 and get the job done). P.s. these also work on your back if you have upper back acne. I recommended them to a male friend and he told me that within a week things were looking MUCH clearer!

My current routine: exfoliate, rinse, wash, rinse, use the Noxzema Anti-blemish pads once a day (on cheeks only, where my breakouts happen) and moisturize with my Clinique Dramatically Different. My current skin: so clear that I rarely wear foundation…. maybe once a week for a night out.

I love these things! And they are now one of my bathroom cabinet staples. Beware, the fumes are STRONG. Like, super strong. But these are completely worth it.

p.s. I have no brand sponsors (pffft- I wish)… So everything I buy costs me out of my own pocket and so, I am always, totally & completely honest about every product I review.

Have an acne remedy? skin cure? share it with me!

Better than “Mixed Chicks”?? Say what?!

Yep, I found a leave-in conditioner that is better, I repeat – BETTER – than the Mixed Chicks brand coveted leave-in conditioner and de-frizzer for curly hair types.

I really like Mixed Chicks, I do. I have even used it in my daughter’s hair which has about 3x the twisty-curl factor than my own hair does. It works really well. But I found a product that works even BETTER.

Recently, I was in Shoppers Drug Mart (I say recently but we all know it’s closer to ‘daily’) helping my friend shop for some deep conditioner for her hair. I have used the ones by L’oreal Expertise, specifically this one (below), the Total Repair 5 and I really liked it. It was moisturizing but not so heavy that it weighed down my hair or gave me that ‘greasy bangs’ look.

So as my friend was grabbing herself some hair mask, I grabbed myself something new (as always) to do a test run. I’ve tried the Nutri-Sleek shampoo & conditioners from the same L’Oreal Expertise brand before and like them, so I decided to give the leave-in conditioner a try.

I have to say, I was amazed by it. It did a BEYOND fabulous job of taming my frizzies and defining my curls without any crunchy gel type feeling AT ALL. It was phenomenal. I only needed a small dollop and it was enough for my whole mid length head of hair. My hair didn’t feel weighed down. AND my boyfriend complimented my yummy smelling hair (it really does smell pretty good, for a styling product anyway).

So, is Mixed Chicks leave-in conditioner great? Yes. Does it do everything it promises? Yes. But, is it available everywhere like in a drugstore or WalMart like L’Oreal Expertise is? No. Is it as cost effective as the L’Oreal Expertise brand is? No again. The Mixed Chicks leave-in conditioner is 300ml for $16.99 (per the website and often sells for much more in stores, especially in boutique hair stores where you might be lucky to find it here in Canada) whereas the L’Oreal Expertise Nutri-Sleek leave-in conditioner is 200ml for $4-6 in most drugstores.

I bought my L’Oreal Expertise Nutri-Sleek leave-in conditioner on sale for $3.99 at SDM AND had $2 off coupons from the company itself to use. That’s right, it was $1.99. I don’t think this could be beat!

If you have thick, wavy, curly, ringlety, corkscrewy, dry, frizzy, dull curls or hair, you probably NEED to get this leave-in conditioner. You just didn’t know it until right now. And with summer coming, a.k.a. “big hair season”, this will probably become your life line.

No, I didn’t forget about you guys! Here’s a link to that $2 off coupon I used: http://www.smartsource.ca/smartsource/index.jsp?Link=RH3NYYVG2LZOY

Now go forth and shop!

Have a fave hair product? Tell me! Want me to put something to the test? Ask away!

My new favourite HAIR thing!

A couple months ago, I saw a video ad somewhere (can’t recall where) for a new hair styling product by Goody. They were called “Spin Pins” and have this double helix type shape to twist into hair during up-do’s to hold hair securely in place. The hair artist demonstrating them said that one of these bad boys replaces the equivalent of 20 (twenty?!?!) traditional bobby pins. I was sold.

I spotted them in Walmart for about $7 at that time, although now the current price is $5. There are 2 colours in them, a burnished silver type colour for light hair & a dark brown for… You guessed it. It also came in 2 package variations, 1 with 2 large pins or 1 with 3 small pins.

I picked up the pack of dark brown small Spin Pins from Goody & tried them out. They were great! They are super sturdy & strong, easy to use & blend well to hair. But, I wish I had bought the long ones because even for mid-length hair like my own, I think nearly everyone would do best with the longer length. They don’t replace 20 pins like the ad-artist said but they replace about 5-6 which still makes it a fantastic & worthwhile hair product. This was ALMOST about to be my new favourite thing. Almost.

Then I dropped in to my local Ardene store a couple weeks ago & saw, none other than the most fabulous dupe: Twirl Pins. Ardene had these in packs of 4 long ones in either black or burnished silver at $3.50/pack or 5 packs for $10. Can’t beat that! On top of it, they also had some fabulous decorated ones with either pearls or Gemstones (like in my photo) with the long length & in packs of 2 for $3.50/pack or 5 packs for $10. Perfect for bridal hair!

I raided all their racks & purchased every pack. And I feel a little naughty for taking them all. But I also feel quite pleased with myself for finding this great dupe!

If you do bridal or prom hair or have your own big event coming up, be sure to get a few of these for your hair & you won’t have any worries about hair flubs during your event!

Have you tried these yet? Tell me about your experience!

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Oh Dear… I have another FAVOURITE Thing!

So about 2 weeks ago, I was in my local Walmart picking up some new nail polish colours for summer and I happened to turn around and spot, none other, than a BRAND NEW item!

So then I bent down to grab it… the new Ardell Double Up eyelashes. And there was ONE. Here’s the thing… these lashes came out in February, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get my hot little hands on any because every time I peruse the eyelash racks in the drugstore or Walmart, they are totally and completely sold out. Barren hooks. Nothing left but those promising little cards that tell you which item is ‘supposed’ to be stocked there but isn’t, just to leave you feeling sad.

But not today… Today I got lucky. I grabbed this last pair and headed for the cash. I got home… took them out and realized, these are just like those damn “Katy Perry” inspired lashes that are everywhere right now but are really well priced! $5 later, you have this pair of mega-glam, ultra-sexy, super-lash eyelashes.

I bought mine in style #203 (Black) which are full, luscious, lengthy and flirty. Amazing for that “Adele” or “Christina Hendrick’s” look; the 1950’s sex kitten goddess look. Pair these with the Duo black waterproof eyelash glue, some nude eyeshadow shimmer and a coat of winged-out waterproof eyeliner and you’ve just brought the sexy back, no JT required.

I can’t seem to get my hands on any more at the moment but to see all the different styles and numbers, you can see this video here (just watch the beginning… or the end if you need to know how to put on falsies): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bJ2p3z5iwc

You can also order online if you like. There’s a great site which has them too! here: http://www.ballbeauty.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=ardell AND they ship for super cheap to Toronto!

P.s. After reviewing ALL the new “Double Up” Styles from Ardell…. #203 is still my fave.

Now if only Walmart and Ardell would quit teasing me and just overstock the shelves already! So if you get your hands on any… stock up! Especially on #203. Universally flattering. I promise. Try them! They are fabulous!

“If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.” Dr. Seuss

My NEW Favourite Thing!

I have so many favourite things!

One thing of which I recently discovered….

I am currently in love with the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. In love.
It happened when, one day, I was in Sephora whoring up the skincare aisles and drooling over new product goodies, when I saw the Clinique D.D. Moisturizer on the shelves beside some Dr. Perricone moisturizer (which was 4x the price of the Clinique, by the way) and I remembered I have been meaning to try this cult-fave I have heard alot, and yet not enough, about.

So I had one of the girls make me a sample… Yes, of course I got a sample! I rarely buy a full size anything from anywhere, especially if it’s going on my face. You can never tell how something reacts to your skin when you’re trying it on in a store with dim lights and possibly other built up dirt or bacteria on your skin from the whole day prior. So, I take my half dozen sample pots home (yes, half a dozen. They were all different products, I promise). And low and behold, I end up at the MAC warehouse sale in Toronto 2 days later, before I had a chance to try the Clinique D.D. Moisturizer. Boo.

I grab 1. Only 1. I figured I may as well, seeing as it was $4 for the 1.7oz bottle which retails in the store currently for $16.

Well, I suck. I should have grabbed more. Way more. Like… all of them, kind of more.

I tried the Clinique D.D. Moisturizer when I got home (from my sample pot, so I could give away the full size to someone else if I didn’t like it). And I fell in love. It was this amazing thing that felt like egg yolks and whipped cream mixed together on my finger tips. I smoothed it over my face and it felt like I put on a moisturizing water-based gel product that literally disappeared on contact (I DID NOT try the gel version, I tried the normal version, just to clarify!).

6 days later, my Sephora sample is done and I have opened my MAC sale bottle of the Clinique stuff. I committed. Because I’m in love.

I have skin that is combination… I have dryness around the mouth and chin, oiliness in the T-zone and normal skin on the cheeks and neck. This moisturizer managed to effectively moisturizer ALL areas of my skin. I feel like it’s a wicked cure… something sinful maybe? Because I feel like skincare is never supposed to feel this good… and be so inexpensive! Holy mother… the 4.2oz bottle is $31 in Sephora stores in Canada… That would last me 6 months. It’s drugstore price!!!! Is anyone else’s heart jumping out of their chest like mine is right now???

So I fell in love. It is dramatically different, just like the name: in texture, quality, and price. Being in love like this feels like pure devine happiness. Everyone should try it. Be a sample whore… get some and try it for free. Experience a love like this.

“If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.” Dr. Seuss

BB Cream Phenomenon… Are They Right For You?

So I’ve been following the hype with regard to the new BB creams & I’ve tried out a few of them so far and quite frankly, there is only 1 product I would recommend. First I’ll explain what they’re all about and why they have caught like fire in the beauty industry at the moment.

BB Creams, also known as “Blemish Balm” or “Beauty Balm” more predominantly in North America, were an invention of the 1970s by a German dermatologist to aid in the recovery of skin after skin peels and facial laser treatments. They began gaining popularity in Asia, particularly with Korean actresses who confessed BBs as their beauty secret and they then became the ‘must have’ beauty accessory everyone was clamoring after. Now in Asia, the qualities of BBs are different then the way they are generally developed for the North American market. The purpose is that BBs are a combination product that help to hydrate/protect (sunscreen)/ anti-age/perfect discolourations/add luminosity or a radiant glow/prime skin/control oil/and more…. but in Asia they are also used to whiten the skin and often contain skin whitening/bleaching and lightening ingredients. In North American formulations, not so much.

There are a few brands that have already launched in Canada and a few more still coming, and so far, I have tried the most popular brands, all of which have a few downfalls for me, particularly as a woman of colour. Please keep this “woman of colour” tidbit in mind when reading my reviews.

On the Canucks BB Cream: Marcelle brand…
With the Marcelle brand, there are 2 shades: light to medium and medium to dark. Both shades had yellow undertones with a slight grey cast. I applied the medium to dark (in which case, I am a medium with slight peach and red undertones) it was much too light and gave what makeup artists dreadingly call “whiteface”. The coverage was moderate, which made it more beneficial as an all in one product, but it did not provide coverage that could replace your traditional foundation. I also felt it was not highly moisturizing and would recommend it for normal skin only and would suggest using a regular moisturizer prior to this if you have dry skin or using an oil free powder on top of this if you have oily skin. This one also does not contain sunscreen (yet, but they say they’re working on a version with SPF) but it does contain Titanium dioxide and Mica, which for me, are both no-nos to any pros who want to use this as a base on a photoshoot due to possible bounce-back/whiteface. Costs about $23 in Shoppers Drug Mart stores or order it online. If you are quite fair and not using it in any kind of photography or film, then this could be an option for replacing your tinted moisturizer or light coverage foundation.

On the Big Drugstore Contender: Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream…

There are 2 shades here also, light to medium and medium to dark. I swatched both shades and the light/medium had peachy undertones while the medium/dark looked like… no better way to put it… mud. I wasn’t impressed with the swatches. Needless to say, I tried out my shade (medium/dark) and I looked a bit grey. Not cool. This also was very thick in consistency meanwhile, very sheer with coverage and pigment quality is very low. This works like a tinted moisturizer but I must say, it is not made for oily skin at all. It really acted like a mask on my face and I looked oilier than usual in less than 2 hours, which is quite a feat for me seeing that I have combination skin with only slight oiliness to the T-zone only. I must also add, that although it acts like a tinted moisturizer, it didn’t moisturize my dry areas very well (like my chin or around the mouth) nor did it provide me with the equivalent coverage of other tinted moisturizers on the market. It’s under $20 at drugstores and for that price, I think you’re better off simply adding a few drops of your favourite foundation to your daily high-SPF moisturizer and calling it a day. And again, SPF 15 makes this a no-go for me on any pro set or in studio.

On the Professional Grade BB Cream: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream…

Smashbox is the only company who has remembered that women come in all different colours of the rainbow and for this, I applaud them. Their line of BBs comes in 5 different shades: fair, light, light/medium, medium, and dark. When I went to Sephora to give these a go, they were all gone and I had to swatch them in store. The sales girl was also kind enough to give me a sample pot of the 3 darkest shades so I could try each one at home and come back to purchase seeing as they had no product to purchase that day anyhow. The result… the medium shade was perfect for my skin tone. It didn’t give me any weird undertones and was a very smooth product to apply. The coverage was about medium, so a bit more coverage than what a tinted moisturizer would do and with a light application of my Smashbox Halo powder (also in medium) I felt I had sufficient day time coverage without a heavily made-up look. This product actually acted quite well as a base for my regular foundation (Nars sheer glow is my regular guy) and gave me beyond perfect coverage when layering my foundation on top. It also didn’t add any extra oil to my skin but would not be suitable for a person with dry skin unless they were to use their regular (heavy) moisturizer underneath it. And kudos to Smashbox, their formulation contains an SPF of 35 while containing Titanium dioxide of only 1%. This is the only product I can recommend to women of colour and to pro makeup artists wanting to use a BB cream in a pro environment as a base or for light coverage. I *finally* didn’t get a grey tone or any whiteface reaction. AND I would also like to say that I really appreciate that my concealor, BB cream and powder from Smashbox all fell consistently in the “medium” category because for a regular (non-pro makeup artist) consumer, this would make for major shopping ease and much less confusion with colour matching. However…. I can’t really recommend this product due to, not performance, but price. I really enjoyed the product, however it’s much too expensive at $50 a pop here in Canada. Now if you’re someone who needs full coverage, an additional moisturizer (for dry skin) and a different specialty primer (to cover redness, or to mattify oiliness, etc) then this product is only going to add to your morning routine while putting a $50 dent in your makeup budget every month or 2. Not worth the fuss or muss. BUT, if you have great skin, don’t need much coverage, and do not have dry skin, I highly recommend it for you as a replacement product for your primer, foundation and sunscreen. If it truly replaces a few of your bathroom cabinet items, then by all means this is your guy and would be well worth it, even at $50.

Have you tried any BB Creams? What did you think? Let me know!

The joy of NEVER depotting

So yesterday I got my Z-palettes in the post, which I ordered from Camera Ready Cosmetics during the 50% sale, for $9.97 each (just under half price).

*As a side note, it was cheaper to order from CRC than from Z-Palette directly, not just because of the sale, but also because shipping to Canada was pretty much double on the Z-Palette website.

So I began depotting. This is where you heat up your terribly heavy plastic packaging that your makeup comes in & melt that sucker down until the glue loosens on the bottom of the eyeshadow/blush & you can take it out easily. There’s loads of YouTube videos on how to do this properly. Some people like the oven method, I find it always melts the packaging before the glue & makes getting the product out super hard. Some people like the lighter/candle method which I quite like for items that come in a palette so you can do each colour individually. And some people like the flat iron method which I quite like for bulky single packaging like a Nars blush or a Revlon eyeshadow. All ways are equally time consuming, some are just more or less messy than others.

Then I arranged my colours in a way that made sense to me: blues with black & whites (my highlight & contour shades), pinks & purples, greens & yellows & oranges, and my earth toned neutral palette of browns, taupes, champagnes, & light shimmers. Aesthetically, I think it gave me a makeupgasm when I saw how lovely everything looked after all that hard work & sweat.

But what really inspired me to write this post was not to talk about depotting… But to talk about the art of NOT depotting. The thought of being able to get away with never depotting makeup again feels almost like a sin, because the thought alone feels so damn good. I hate depotting. It sucks. You get nearly stabbed many times & nearly burned just as many times if not more. So why are we still depotting?

Well, if you’re a drugstore makeup buyer and love your Revlons & L’oreal’s then depotting may be your sport. Or if you’re a makeup snob & love some lovely Nars or Tarina Tarantino $30+ makeup, then depotting could be a good stress release from thinking about how light your wallet feels. But… If you’re either a pro artist or just a consumer with the idea of quality over branding, then let me take you to a place I call, “Never Depot Again Paradise.”

In this Paradise, there exists a multitude of professional grade eyeshadows, blushes, lip colours & powders that have NEVER been potted. You can order them, and they arrive with NO packaging to melt. These products are amazing. And when you measure them gram for gram beside some of the drug store products, you’re often getting 3-6 times more product for less than half the price.

My faves: La Femme. The blushes are AMAZING and the eyeshadows are pretty fabulous too. The size is HUGE and you get tons of product for less than $3. You can purchase La Femme online. Cheapest price I’ve see on their Eyeshadows: http://www.makeupmania.com/products/La-Femme-%252d-Pressed-Eyeshadow-%28Pan-Only%29.html although I find the shipping prices to Canada from CRC make it cheaper to buy here: http://camerareadycosmetics.com/products/la-femme-eye-shadow-pans-refills-large.html
And the cheapest price I’ve seen on their blushes: http://www.makeupmania.com/products/La-Femme-%252d-Blush-On-Rouge-%28Pan-Only%29.html and ditto to the above so click here if you’re a Canuck: http://camerareadycosmetics.com/products/la-femme-blush-on-rouge-refills.html

My second favourite is the Ben Nye. The eyeshadows rate a little bit higher than the La Femme because the pigment is a bit stronger, but the blushes are just as nice as La Femme’s are but you’ll get a colour differentiation here. Eyeshadows: http://camerareadycosmetics.com/products/ben-nye-eyeshadow-refills.html and their blushes: http://camerareadycosmetics.com/products/ben-nye-powder-cheek-rouge-refill.html

Now you can stick these guys into your Z-Palette or pro palette easily and never worry about depotting OR the extra cost you’re paying for all the unnecessary packaging. And this is the beauty of using a Z-Palette to organize your makeup while never depotting a piece of eyeshadow ever again.

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